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Power Button - Episode 274: A Tribute To Developers (Part 1)

Power ButtonWe've talked a lot about our favorite video games over the years, but on this week's episode of the Power Button podcast we're talking about some of our favorite video game developers.  Insomniac Games, PagodaWest Games, Naughty Dog, Nintendo's litany of internal studios and partnerships, and much more.   Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes and Google Play, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @GrundyTheMan, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton. We also have a tip jar if you'd like to kick a dollar or two of support our way.


The Long And Winding Road Of Not Playing Mother 3

Mother 3

More than a decade after Nintendo released the long-anticipated Mother 3 in Japan, the company's American arm shows no sign of offering the game in English.  Fans have clamored for that sequel to make an appearance for such a long time now that I've grown numb to the anticipation, but Clyde Mandelin who worked on the unofficial translation of the game is still a believer.  He's chronicled the long path of Nintendo not localizing Mother 3 on his Legends of Localizations website as Mother 3's Timeline of Hope in which he takes us from those innocent days of the announced EarthBound 64 for the Nintendo 64 through the Game Boy Advance years into Virtual Console territory and beyond.

I originally intended for this to be a simple article on my EarthBound Central site. It quickly grew so big that I was going to give it its own dedicated section on the site instead. But then it eventually grew so big that I decided to turn it into another of my Legends of Localization books. It was going to be titled “C’mon Nintendo, Give Us Mother 3”, and it even hit a bunch of news sites when I first announced it.

Unfortunately, due to schedule conflicts and other boring stuff, I had to drop the book plan. I’d rather share my findings than sit on it and do nothing, so I decided to package my raw notes and share them here in celebration of the 10th anniversary of of the MOTHER 3 fan translation.

I have no doubt the book version would’ve been far better, but hopefully these raw notes will still be interesting and useful in some way.

As I read through the timeline, I discovered something interesting about myself: reading it made me frustrated and even a little angry; not angry that the game never released officially in English, but angry that fans spent so much time and energy scouring supposedly secret images for Mother 3 clues that weren't there, dissecting documents that were later exposed as hoaxes, reading tea leaves to declare that the game was truly coming this time because the planets were in alignment... so much excitement wasted on what turned out to be nothing each and every time.  Reading the entire Mother 3 non-release saga of fans searching for substance in the emptiness condensed down into just a few pages was like reading pure concentrated nonsense, and it triggered that part of my reactionary lizard brain that wants to cry out that we're all wasting our time looking for clues in the nothingness and it's not worth all the fuss.  Either a game will be released or it won't be, and there's not a damn thing we can do about it.  I think maybe I need to go outside for a while.


Power Button - Episode 272: A Farewale To Telltale

Power ButtonAs we spent the week watching Telltale Games crumble into mismanaged dust, it's only right to take an hour to reminisce about the best of times and the worst of times regarding the beloved developer of adventure games.  Sam & Max, Back To The Future, The Walking Dead, Tales From The Borderlands, Game of Thrones, Puzzle Agent, Law & Order, and beyond fill the conversation as we sent the studio off in style.  Special thanks to all of the developers formerly of Telltale who worked so hard to bring us these memories.  You all deserve better than to be unceremoniously dismissed without warning and we know you'll land in better places soon.   Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes and Google Play, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @GrundyTheMan, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton. We also have a tip jar if you'd like to kick a dollar or two of support our way.


Power Button - Episode 271: Big Williams/Zen Pinball News Plus The Last Round Of Updated Re-Releases

Power ButtonWe're wrapping up our mini-series episodes of video games that changed when they were re-released with discussions on games such as Donkey Kong Country 3, Half-Life, and the Xbox Duke controller, but before we dig into that we have a dive into the big news that Zen Studios has acquired the licenses for the Williams and Bally pinball tables.  Spend an hour with us for some fun.   Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes and Google Play, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @GrundyTheMan, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton. We also have a tip jar if you'd like to kick a dollar or two of support our way.


Williams Pinball Tables Coming To Pinball FX3

Williams on Pinball FX3

Back in June the warning went out from Farsight Studios that their digital pinball platform, Pinball Arcade, would lose all classic pinball tables under the Williams and Bally family at the end of that month, so anyone looking to buy beloved tables such as Theater of Magic, Twilight Zone, Taxi, or any of the others today on the Pinball Arcade platform are out of luck.  On the other hand, things are looking up on the Pinball FX3 platform from Zen Studios as it's been announced that Zen has acquired the license for the Williams and Bally tables.

Marking Zen's first foray into offering tables based on real physical titles rather than original digital creations, the company plans to launch table packs for the Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC, and Mac soon and has already made four tables available on Steam as part of a free beta test.  Fish Tales, Junk Yard, Medieval Madness, and The Getaway: High Speed II are up first with four more tables to follow before the end of the year.  Zen has prepared a full FAQ regarding then new tables.  Here's a piece of it:

Has there been any change to the physics for the Williams tables, or are they in line with Zen’s current physics offerings?

We have invested a lot of time and energy adjusting the physics simulation for the Williams tables, so they play true to form – it feels like real pinball. Early feedback suggests physics are spot on; however, we certainly welcome your own feedback as well. We think the ball moves and handles extremely accurately to the real thing, including accurate ball spin and “tricks” as well.

Will this game be very simulation heavy, or will there be options to have something like in Zen, where you can have score numbers popping up, etc.?

All Williams tables can be played with or without normal Pinball FX3 extras, such as score pops and in-game notification, allowing the table to be played in its purest form.

This is a huge deal and I'm extremely excited to see what Zen can do with these tables.  I own all of the tables currently available on the PS4 versions of Pinball FX3 and Pinball Arcade, and while the latter offers a lot of value, the former has the better overall experience.  Bringing great tables like Fish Tales and, hopefully, some personal licensed favorites like Star Trek: The Next Generation and The Addams Family into the FX3 experience with tournaments, bonus modes, and replay-enhancing challenges is a wonderful match.  We'll have more on this news in the upcoming Episode 271 of the Power Button podcast.


Power Button - Episode 270: Another Round Of Updated Re-Releases

Power ButtonPicking up from where we left off last time, Blake Grundman and I resume our discussion of video games that are enhanced or otherwise altered when they are re-released.  We discuss more of Mega Man X Legacy Collection and its X Challenge mode plus dip into older titles such as Ratchet & Clank Collection, Donkey Kong Land 3, GoldenEye 007 Reloaded, The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX, and more.  Also, we briefly discuss my new house and the story of the clothes dryer.  It'll all make sense in the end.   Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes and Google Play, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @GrundyTheMan, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton. We also have a tip jar if you'd like to kick a dollar or two of support our way.


Metal Sonic Gets An Upgrade

Sonic Mania PlusI absolutely loved Sonic Mania when it released last year and played as much of it as I possibly could, so when the Plus add-on released last month, I eagerly bought it and dived back in for more fun.  The two new playable characters and Encore Mode are great, but so far my favorite upgraded part of the game has to be the Stardust Speedway Act 2 boss fight against Metal Sonic which has been made easier while also becoming much more awesome.  Where the original boss battle ended in a one-on-one fight with plain Metal Sonic, the new update gives him the Phantom Ruby to become a massive, foreboding battle robot.  My compliments to everyone involved with overhauling this part of the game.  Consider me impressed and delighted!


Reload Your N64 Controller In Goldeneye 007 And Other Stories

Goldeneye 007Rare's Goldeneye 007 for the Nintendo 64 is one of the all-time great games for the console, so it's only fitting on its twenty-first anniversary that there should be an oral history about the making the game compiled and published.  Quinn Myers does the honors for MEL Magazine and captures comments and stories from the game's developers in which they discuss ideas that didn't make the final version, features that the lawyers made them remove, the last-minute addition of the famous multiplayer mode, and much more.  What especially made me smile was this cut feature:

[David] Doak: Another idea we had that was never really serious: What happened was that all the N64 controllers had that slot in them, and everyone’s always wanting there to be some reason for some arbitrary piece of hardware. So it was like, “Can you use this in GoldenEye?” All of our reference for guns was watching [movies], so someone said, “Well, what if you slam in the thing to reload,” because it could detect when it was plugged in. But when we trialed the reload, it was rubbish, so we didn’t do it, and it actually became a big joke.

I never owned a Goldeneye 007 of my own, but I rented it from Blockbuster by default when there wasn't another game I wanted to play, so I spent a lot of weekends playing the game with friends or just on my own.  Since the game supported the Rumble Pak, it became a gag to snap the pak into the controller slot like loading a gun before starting the game.  I'm pleased to see that the developers had the same idea!  It's better that they didn't implement it though.  It's fun to do once before the game starts, but having to do it over and over again during the action would become tedious and annoying almost immediately.

For the record, we played almost exclusively in the Facility with motion sensor explosives.


Power Button - Episode 269: Remonikered Mavericks And Other Updated Re-releases

Power ButtonCapcom has taken a bold step in its re-release of Mega Man X5 as part of the Mega Man X Legacy Collection by relocalizing the game to change the names of the Mavericks from the out-of-place monikers such as Duff McWhalen and The Skiver to the more proper Tidal Whale and Spiral Pegasus.  It's certainly not the first time a beloved game has been tinkered with for a re-release, and on this episode of Power Button we spend an hour discussing other games that have changed over the years across iterations.  Donkey Kong, Halo Anniversary Collection, Super Mario 64 DS,,Tomb Raider Anniversary, The Secret of Monkey Island, and more round out the conversation.   Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes and Google Play, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @GrundyTheMan, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton. We also have a tip jar if you'd like to kick a dollar or two of support our way.


Let's Go Talk About Pokémon With Rob Alsbrook

Let's Go PokemonProving that we really do live in a small world, a few weeks ago I was eating lunch at my favorite local pizza joint when who should walk up and say hello but Robert Alsbrook.  Long-time PTB readers may remember back in late 2010 when, in conjunction with a now-defunct local Internet television operation that predated homemade YouTube shows and Twitch livestreaming, Rob and I launched the tragically short-lived and ahead-of-its-time The Press The Buttons Show where for thirty minutes each week we would offer up gaming news, commentary, and reviews.  We produced eight episodes (six of which aired), after which the owner of the network ended the operation and moved out of state on to new opportunities.  Rob and I lost touch soon after, but now here we were in the same pizza place, so we got to talking and ended up having a conversation about Nintendo's upcoming Let's Go! Pokémon pair of titles based around Pikachu and Eevee.

Matthew Green: How long have you played Pokémon?  I can't say I ever really got into it.  I pretty much missed the boat in the beginning; Red and Blue were just coming out when I was first driving in high school, so I wasn't sitting in the backseat with my Game Boy like I had done for years on family road trips.  I didn't really get to know Pikachu until Super Smash Bros. Melee, and then the other Pokémon that were in that game as well.  I can recognize a Squirtle from a Charmander, but any of the newer or more obscure Pokémon?  Not a chance.  My first actual Pokémon game that I played was Pokémon XD for the GameCube when I was assigned to review it for Kombo years ago, and not knowing much about the world, I was totally lost.

Robert Alsbrook: I did most of my Game Boying outside before I got a Game Boy Pocket (that poor contrast in early Game Boy screens!).  I couldn't play for too long in a car before I got car sick.  I started playing Pokémon shortly after Red and Blue came to the USA.  At the time I was in high school and I baby-sat these two boys who loved to play video games (an easy job).  They were both very much into Pokémon and they eagerly showed me the game.  I watched them play and I thought to myself, "This isn't a bad game at all!"  The rest is history!  Short answer: 20 years.

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